New Treatment for Macular holes

Recent approval of Jetrea (Ocriplasmin) to treat symptomatic VMA (Vitreo Macular Adhesion) has opened up a new era in non surgical management of macular holes. Previously only a hospital based surgery was able to reverse the process of macular hole development but now a new drug can be injected into the eye painlessly in the office and within a few weeks the process reverses back to more normal vision levels....  more

FDA Approves ASRS Leader's ArgusŪ II Artificial Retina

On February 14, the FDA approved the Argus II artificial retina developed by ASRS Executive Committee and Board Member Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD.

This breakthrough technology is the first ever to offer limited vision to patients with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

 Second Sight Medical Products (Sylmar, CA) manufactures the Argus II implant, which has 60 electrodes and a tiny camera mounted on eyeglasses to capture images.

 The FDA approved Argus II for adults age 25 years or older with severe to profound RP. About 10,000 to 15,000 of the 100,000 Americans with RP will qualify for Argus II. Up to 4,000 patients a year can be treated with the device.

...  more

Macular degeneration and Aspirin?

Aspirin and Macular degeneration... is there an increase in the wet form of macular degeneration in those patients taking aspirin? The wet form develops quicker than the dry form. It may only be related to the fact that you are more likely to take aspirin if you have medical problems like stroke or heart attacks in the past and these conditions are more commonly associated with wet age related macular degeneration. ...  more

Patient Education


How A Healthy Diet Can Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy

 The most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor about what diet and exercise routine he would like you to follow. Realize that controlling diabetes involves multiple factors that have to be balanced: The amount of carbohydrates that drive your blood sugar up (starches and sugars) against the medications (insulin, and hypoglycemic agents -pills) and the exercise that you do that drives the blood sugar down. This is a juggling act where you are juggling three balls in the air at the same time without dropping one of them. This is hard to do but you must learn how to make it balance though out the day and night. 

Some physicians will prescribe a certain amount of medications on a schedule trying to have the medication reach maxium effect in lowering your blood sugar at the right time to compensate when you will be eating and digesting food (driving the blood sugar up). This is where maintaining a good routine or schedule of when you eat and what you eat against when you do physical activity would help keep the low and high spikes in blood sugar under control. Talking to the primary medical doctor in greater detail about what you do and what/when you eat is vital in getting this timing right. No general diet recommendation (as seen below) can fit all the patient's needs or schedules. At East Carolina Retina Consultants we are vitally interested in the diabetic control as it is a predictor as to how your sight will do but we do not want to "back seat drive" on your primary physician by modifying your control factors (diet, exercise, medications) without his knowledge. The primary physician should be consulted on all changes to the control factors as they are the ones writing the prescriptions for your medications. 

Here is the general diet recommendations written by a certified nutritionist:

Eating a balanced diet with consistent small meals throughout the day can help to reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Depending on your medical conditions and under direction of your physician your diet should include complex carbohydrates each day including foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, peas, cereal and fruit. While complex carbohydrates are healthy to eat, it is best to spread the amount eaten throughout the day and try to maintain a similar level each day.


A portion of your daily food intake, according to your medical condition and your doctor's advice, should come from healthy fats. Mono-saturated fats are the best for your body and come from foods like nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts), and avocados. When cooking, avoid saturated fats like butter, lard, meat fat, bacon and shortening; choosing instead to cook with olive oil and canola oil.  If you eat saturated fats in sour cream and cream cheese, choose the lower fat versions of the same product.


Your remaining daily food intake should come from proteins found in meat, beans and dairy products. Choose milk that is 1% milkfat or less, cheese that is 2% or less and lean meats.  Trim all visible fat from meats before cooking.


Get in the habit of performing other healthy behaviors concerning your daily food intake. Avoid simple sugars found in cookies, cake, ice cream, donuts, candies and most dessert foods. Consume at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day. Try to maintain a diet low in fat by avoiding fried foods and using methods such as baking, broiling or roasting to cook.  Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of carbonated beverages.  Use limited amounts of salt when preparing food and do not add additional salt before consuming. If you use artificial sweeteners, stick to aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame-K to maintiain your blood sugar unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Sugars such as alcoholsxylitol, mannitol and sorbitol contain calories and can increase your blood sugar as well as cause gas and diarrhea.


If you are trying to lose weight, it is best to limit weight loss to one pound per week.  Losing more than one pound per week could mean that you are depriving yourself of the water and nutrition that your body needs.


For more information about maintaining a healthy diet, speak with a registered dietician to develop a plan for you and talk to your primary physician who wrote for the medications to control the diabetes as it must work together.